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Registry SAM (Security Account Manager)

The Windows Registry is a fundamental component of the Windows operating system that stores the system information and configuration settings. Within the Registry, one of the important hive is SAM (Security Account Manager).

The Security Account Manager (SAM) stores the user information such as username, password, Account type, Enabled status, group memberships, last logon time, etc…

The SAM registry is a database in the Windows registry. The SAM database is located in the %SystemRoot%\System32\config\SAM file.

The primary purpose of the SAM is to make the system more secure and hence it is important to protect the SAM registry from unauthorized access.

How to Access the SAM Registry

The SAM registry hive can be found in the Windows Registry at the following location.


You can use the Registry editor tool that allows you to view and modify the Windows registry. To open the Registry Editor, type regedit in the start menu search bar and press enter.

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM.

The Registry SAM key contains all of the information about user accounts.

The SYSTEM privileges are needed to open the SAM registry key. You can also use the Sysinternals tool PSExec.

What is the Significance of SAM Registry

The SAM database contains crucial information about the user accounts. It is important to the security of the Windows system ensuring that the user account is protected and only authorized users can access the Windows resources.

Cool Tip: Learn more about ProfileList in Registry which stores user profile information!


I hope the above article on the Registry SAM hive is helpful to you. Understanding the SAM hive is very important for Windows system administration, security, and troubleshooting.

Keep in mind that tampering with SAM hive can have various consequences, including data loss, and security breaches. Hence always follow the best practices when working with the Windows Registry, especially the SAM hive.

You can find more topics about PowerShell Active Directory commands and PowerShell basics on the ShellGeek home page.